© Cranborne Chase AONB
Dark skies and stargazing events What's on in Dorset?
A choice of star-studded events take place in dazzling stargazing locations across Dorset when the conditions are right and the weather permits!
An astronomy observatory is located within the nature reserve, close to the coast path at Durlston Country Park, Swanage. This great facility enables you to enjoy the use of an observatory through bookable events and sessions organised for groups and run by keen astronomers from the Wessex Astronomical Society. The sessions usually include talks in their learning centre and the opportunity to observe the night sky using a range of different telescopes, look out for them and book early using the Durlston Country Park website. Durlston Country Park can also be accessed at night for stargazing or astrophotography when the observatory is not running events.
A don’t miss the annual winter event Star Fest – the Dark Skies Festival where you can learn more and participate in beginner’s astronomy. This festival is run by Cranborne Chase National Landscape International Dark Sky Reserve. The week-long festival includes stargazing in the evening, family-friendly workshops and space themed actives for children, the full programme is displayed their website, many of the events are free.
Stargazing and Planet Hunting
The Parks Foundation (for Bournemouth Poole and Christchurch in Dorset) run occasional Stargazing and Planet Hunting events led by an astronomer, as well as many more wildlife themed events. The events are held within their parks.
Some campsites will also be running stargazing events, don’t miss an opportunity to join in the fun during your stay.
As well as stargazing events there are also other activities, including bat walks, badger watching and moth capturing. You'll be amazed to learn about the huge range of different things that you can see and participate in for more information visit our Dark Skies activities page.